Who We Are 2020-08-05T12:08:15-04:00

Yoga in Action

Our humanitarian mission is yoga in action—offering spiritually grounded healing and transformation to the world. Our projects serve impoverished rural areas, regenerating the environment and empowering communities with the knowledge and tools needed for lasting social transformation.

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Our Core Values

Our core values drive our activities—they inform how we interact with communities and inspire us to bring about lasting change.

Respectful Partnership

Every community has unique priorities, challenges, assets, and opportunities. We are guided by the experience and wisdom of grassroots leaders. Our projects are models of participatory and collaborative development. In each community we employ local talent and leadership to design, implement, and evaluate innovative projects that tackle chronic problems.


Grassroots leadership development is central to our work, so that local community members gain skills and confidence to become effective agents of change. By working at the local level, residents are more empowered to participate in the transformation process, and ultimately, lead the efforts among their own friends and families.

Economic Sustainability

Our projects strive to create livelihood that offers stability and dignity to people and their families. This drives sustainable change and generational impact in the communities where we work.

Lasting Transformation

Our global humanitarian mission is the transformation of rural communities. Working with strong local partners, our multifaceted programs address root problems with integrated sustainable solutions in key areas of education, health care, and economic upliftment.

Meet the Team

Our continued efforts are only possible through the hard work and sincere effort of our dedicated and talented teams, both locally and abroad.

Jeff Abella

Jeff Abella

Director, Global Humanitarian Projects

Jeff has been working on international development initiatives since 2007. For nearly a decade he has led efforts to establish new community initiatives in Africa and India, and is one of the founding directors of Himalayan Institute Mexico. Jeff is currently the director of Global Humanitarian Projects for the Himalayan Institute, and the managing director of Himalayan Institute Cameroon. Jeff also sits on the board of directors for the Sacred Link Foundation, founded Moka Origins & JobLink Cameroon, and is involved in other social ventures in West Africa.

Steve Odnoha

Steve Odnoha

Technical Director

Steven has been involved with the Himalayan Institute’s Global Humanitarian Projects team since 2010. He is involved with all things technical, from teaching electrical training courses to lab setup and solar power installations. As the technical director, he also manages and maintains all equipment involved with the humanitarian work. Steven received his professional education from Central Texas College and the U.S. Army. He also worked for the semiconductor giant Intel for over 10 years as a maintenance technician, where he learned to apply attention to detail in all facets of his work.

Alat Tigunait, MPH

Alat Tigunait, MPH

Total Health Project Manager

Alat has been actively involved with the Himalayan Institute’s Global Humanitarian Projects team since 2012. She is currently the health project manager, and has led the development and implementation of the Total Health Revolution, a widespread public health education campaign and health consultant training program in Cameroon. Alat studied biobehavioral health and health policy and administration at Penn State University and received a master’s degree in public health (MPH) with a focus on international health from the Boston University School of Public Health.

Chemson Joseph

Chemson Joseph

President, Himalayan Institute Cameroon

Chemson has been involved with the Himalayan Institute in Kumbo, Cameroon, since 2007, as our on-site president. His extensive background in administration and management with many local education and service organizations made Chemson a perfect fit for Himalayan Institute Cameroon, and he has been an integral part of the success of our organization. Chemson studied youth instruction and administration at the National Institute of Youth and Sports, and wrote his dissertation on the cooperative union and the integration of youth.

Naomi Schademan - Development Coordinator

Naomi Schademan

Development Coordinator

With an educational background in English Writing and Interdisciplinary Global Studies, Naomi joined the humanitarian team to focus on communications and development. She has been a resident at the Himalayan Institute since 2017. Having experienced the healing and transformative benefits of ayurveda, yoga, and meditation in her own life, she is particularly inspired by the holistic approach of the Total Health Program to support communities coping with the effects of conflict and stress.

Mark Larson

Mark Larson

Development Associate

Mark has been volunteering for the Himalayan Institute for many years while still in school, and has recently started full time, focusing on development and communications. Previously a professional musician, Mark earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and has made many visits to the Himalayan Institute’s campuses in Cameroon, Allahabad, and Khajuraho. Mark’s vast personal experiences visiting these humanitarian sites, as well as his deep passion for the mission of the Himalayan Institute, drive him to expand the fundraising, donor relations, grant pursuits, and social media presence of the Humanitarian Projects.

Shu Quiniva

Shu Quiniva

Financial Bookkeeper, Himalayan Institute Cameroon

Joining our team in 2018, Quiniva works to keep our financial books in order for our operations in Cameroon. As we expand our core initiatives in 2019, Quiniva brings her local knowledge, business skills, and young entrepreneurial spirit to the team. Quiniva is one of 7, born in Bafut Village of NW Cameroon and grew up loving singing, gymnastics, and the idea of pursuing accounting and financial management. We’re thankful to welcome all of these skills and passions to the HIC family.

Mark Larson

Yao Harumiyan Fonyuy

Public Library Program Leader, Himalayan Institute Cameroon

Since 2016, Yao has been the leader for our Library Program in Kumbo, Cameroon. He leads after-school programs, children’s literacy courses, computer training programs, spelling bees, and summer education programs. After secondary school, Yao went on to earn an Advanced Level Certificate and is also a certified librarian and construction technician. His enthusiasm for education has truly transformed the Kumbo Public Library into a space for learning and empowerment for all.

Eucharia Kuoh

Eucharia Kuoh

Total Health Program Leader, Himalayan Institute Cameroon

Eucharia has been working at Himalayan Institute Cameroon since its start in 2007 as the Total Health Program Leader. She has overseen every aspect of HIC’s health initiatives—from our herbal medicine lab and pharmacy, to private health consultations and public health outreach programs. Eucharia has a bachelor’s degree in Law and Political science, has had several trainings on public health and homeopathy, and is certified as one of our Total Health Consultants.

Pascaline Berri

Pascaline Berri

Public Relations and Outreach, Himalayan Institute Cameroon

Pascaline started work with Himalayan Institute Cameroon in July 2013. She serves as HIC’s Public Outreach and Marketing Manager. Pascaline also leads and promotes HIC’s Women’s and Family Enrichment Program, and works with all other program leaders to implement plans and activities. She earned an Advanced Level General Certificate and Professional Certificate in Public Relations, Marketing, Management, and Customer Services from New Generation Academy U.K. in Bamenda. Pascaline was also trained in Social Communication at the Cameroon Association of Social Marketing (ACMS), where she worked for the Women’s Health Project (WHP) before joining the HIC team.

Organizational Legacy: A History of Service

From 1971 to today, the Himalayan Institute Global Humanitarian Projects team has been dedicated to serving communities across the globe, bringing transformation and long-term empowerment.

Early Humanitarian Projects
Since our founding in 1971, the Himalayan Institute has undertaken numerous humanitarian projects around the world. Much of its early work focused on supporting schools, libraries, and hospitals in India and Nepal.
Sacred Link—The Healing Revolution
Since 2001, our humanitarian activities have expanded with the launch of Sacred Link—The Healing Revolution, uniting the Institute’s core mission of personal development and our vision for social and environmental renewal.
Community Center Model
Since 2007, the Sacred Link initiatives for economic and educational development, energy farming, and rural empowerment have continued to unfold, developing into the Himalayan Institute Community Center model. The Community Center is now the main vehicle for the Institute’s humanitarian efforts abroad.

From 1971 to Today:


  1. 1971

    Himalayan Institute is founded, and along with it, Himalayan Institute Global Humanitarian Projects is born.

    Who We Are Timeline 1971
  2. 1982

    Hansda Ashram opened in Nepal.

    Who We Are Timeline 1982
  3. 1987

    The Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust, Medical College, Nursing School, and Rural Development Institute founded in Dehra Dun, India.

    Who We Are Timeline 1987
  4. 1991

    Earthquake relief efforts are undertaken in India over the course of 1991 and 1992.

    Who We Are Timeline 1991
  5. 1997

    The Himalayan Institute Indian Chapter in Allahabad, India is founded.

    Who We Are Timeline 1997


  1. Began support for community programs in India that promote literacy and prison reform. For books on the subject, please see It’s Always Possible and Shadows in Cages.

    Who We Are Timeline 2001–2007
  2. Began efforts for schools in underprivileged communities in India to fight illiteracy.

    Who We Are Timeline 2001–2007
  3. Sponsored the translation of Sanskrit scriptures and support traditional arts and crafts in order to preserve indigenous culture.

    Who We Are Timeline 2001–2007
  4. Developed biofuel in southern India in conjunction with Roshini Biotech for reforestation, soil conservation, and rural economic development.

    Who We Are Timeline 2001–2007
  5. Reintroduced the Vedic method of organic farming, ayurvedic pharmacology and processing of herbs, and medicinal and spiritual applications of herbs through BioVedic farming at the Himalayan Institute headquarters.

    Who We Are Timeline 2001–2007


  1. 2007

    Founded the Himalayan Institute Cameroon Community Center; launched Sacred Link Jewelry—a women’s empowerment training program.

    Who We Are Timeline 2007
  2. 2008

    Launched the School of Carpentry & Construction; held our first Eco-Service Excursion; & opened the doors to our first Total Health Center after training consultants.

    Who We Are Timeline 2008
  3. 2009

    Held the grand opening of the Kumbo Public; started medicinal farming to sustainably supply our growing health initiatives.

    Who We Are Timeline 2009
  4. 2010

    Completed our first clean water project in Kishong Village; held the Help Africa Move Forward Conference and hosted an international delegation of 25 people.

    Who We Are Timeline 2010
  5. 2011

    Started using Mobile Health Clinics to reach underserved communities; achieved 100% management of Himalayan Institute Cameroon with local staff.

    Who We Are Timeline 2011
  6. 2012

    Opened the Business and Education Study Center.

    Who We Are Timeline 2012
  7. 2013

    Piloted our Community Health Education Initiative, which reached 80,000 people in just over six months.

    Who We Are Timeline 2013
  8. 2014

    Launched our first fundraising challenge to grow our health education initiative.

    Who We Are Timeline 2014
  9. 2015

    Hosted our 4th Service Excursion; graduated 52 health consultants and 14 carpentry and construction students.

    Who We Are Timeline 2015
  10. 2016

    Opened libraries in five different underserved communities.

    Who We Are Timeline 2016